Happiness Is…

Have you had a chance to read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin? Her work has had a powerful impact on me. Reading the book has given me a chance to reflect on my daily practices and how I show up in life.

Am I happy? Are others happy being around me? What makes me happy? 

I gave a speech a couple of months ago titled “Happiness Is a Choice”. As I was preparing, I posed this question to sporting family members: “What makes you happy?” I got various responses:

“Relaxing with a good movie or book.”, “Being with friends.”, “Going on Vacation”, “Being involved in a creative project”, “You not pestering me with questions right now.”, “A beautiful sunset” etc.

Ultimately though, after discussing it at length, it boiled down to this….people, events, and circumstances can’t make you happy, only you can make yourself happy. You decide to be so.

Practicing happiness can go a long way in boosting your health. We’ve all heard the old adage “Laughter is the best medicine.” Right? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to test it for yourself. We all can tell the difference between how we feel after having a good hearty laugh… compared to when we are ticked off, snappy at someone, or grumpy. If being happy can create better health the question then becomes… “How do I practice happiness?”

I came up with a list of daily practices that help me be in a mindset and physical state where happiness (and good health) is cultivated…

  • Eat three meals a day
  • Get good sleep and rest
  • Exercise
  • Listen to favorite music
  • Meditate and Pray
  • Surround myself with and recognize supportive family and friends
  • Learn something new everyday
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Prioritize my day – do what is most challenging first
  • Turn my fear of the unknown into excitement about the process of learning
  • Acknowledge the gift each of my family members are to me
  • Notice the little things in life that if I suddenly didn’t have I would miss. (like running water)

Here are a few suggestions from Gretchen’s book “The Happiness Project”…

  • Act the way I want to feel.
  • Do it now.
  • Be polite and be fair.
  • Enjoy the process.
  • Lighten up.
  • Don’t keep score.
  • Smile! Laugh at yourself. – showing vulnerability and a sense of humor makes you more likable and approachable. It also takes social courage.
  • There is only love.

Two of my favorite mantras…

  • I am enough.
  • Doing my best is perfect!

Life is a journey. When I get to the end of my goals and dreams I hope that the words of the writer Colette are of no consequence: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”

We can realize the wonderful life we’ve been given. Today. Now. In this moment. The choice is ours.

What cultivates happiness for you? I would love to hear about your own happiness project or ways in which you choose to be happy.

Bikram / Hot Yoga Part V: Final Answer

In Savasana. Photo: Tarnalberry on Flickr

I received some literature my first day of class in Bikram’s.  My thoughts about it…

“General Hints to Assist in the Postures”

  1. When you are in the final position of the posture remember to let go and relax into any pain you might be experiencing – just like when you have a legwax! I’m not making the connection here…help me out.
  2. Say positive affirmations to yourself whilst doing the postures – this really changes the energy. I’m thinking positive affirmations whilst resisting the urge to run like a bat out of hell into a cooler room.
  3. Feel what is happening to your body in the postures. Don’t focus on the heat because you won’t feel anything else. Continue reading

Bikram / Hot Yoga Part III: Staying Power

Day 2:

On the way to Bikram

My head is clearer today. I drank a whopping quart of water before getting into my car. Yes, I would suggest you hydrate well BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER class. I also downed 16 ounces of one of my famous breakfast smoothies (my kids call it the monster green drink). Crammed with a variety of fruit, Kefir, spinach, protein, and whatever else I can find, it packs some punch and promises to boost my staying power this morning. It’s Saturday. I am ready for the Bikram sauna. Continue reading

Bikram / Hot Yoga Part I: Background

Why am I writing about Bikram Yoga? I don’t teach it and we don’t offer it through the Yoga Coach…but we DO offer HOT yoga and I have more than a few clients who are curious about it and on occasion I am asked what I think about Bikram Yoga. So…I decided to take on Bikram Yoga classes twice a week for 4 weeks to get an idea of what it is in comparison to our HOT yoga. I’ll blog my experiences so you’ll know what to expect.  But first, some background.

About me…

On a Hike

I’ve been a fitness enthusiast since high school (too many years ago), taught aerobics and danced in the eighties and 90’s, been a runner, hiker and biker through the years too (still am). You could say I’m a fitness junkie. I’ve been a yoga instructor since the year 2000. My initial 200 hour training in 2001 was in Power Yoga with Dana Baptiste. I have also trained many hours in Anusara, Ashtanga, Restorative, as well as others. I keep up on my stuff. I teach 6 – 8 classes of yoga a week and operate an on-site Corporate Yoga business as well as co-own Lifted Life Yoga Center. It doesn’t make me an expert by a long shot, but I’m not the new kid on the block either. I’ve never done a full Bikram class at a Bikram yoga studio until now. Continue reading